Moominsummer Madness - Tove Jansson, Thomas Warburton
Among warm and comforting books for children, this has to be one of the warmest. It takes its character from Moominmamma, who greets every new event (however seemingly problematic) as a delightful experience; for instance, when a rising sea floods her house, she's charmed by how unfamiliar the kitchen looks seen underwater from the ceiling. Furthermore, she has a supreme lack of worry, saying, "Only bad people fare badly." This faith is of course entirely justified in this book's world; in fact, even the house and garden are just as good as ever after being under the sea for weeks.

Moominmamma has a non-constraining, patient, and generous approach to child-raising that manages to almost never use the word "no". That seems to be Jansson's main underlying theme in all these books -- demonstrating how children around the Moomin family develop in moral sense and responsibility as if everything's their own idea. (Contrast with Little My's older sister, who constantly admonishes and threatens her, which has very little effect. Little My loves her sister, but might not turn out well if the Moomin house wasn't her second home. Worse are the regulated-down-to-the-last-square-flowerbed homes provided by Hemulens, both here and in Moominpappa's Memoirs, where everything is "strictly forbidden", and children are silent, passive, and miserable.)

I was glad to see, though, that there's a hint of an own personality to Moominmamma, beyond being the perfect mother. She does have dreams and pleasures; indeed, it seems that letting children lead their own lives gives her space (mental, emotional, even physical) for dreaming, even though she's pretty busy feeding, clothing and emotionally supporting them.